by Bob Tuskin
Growing up in South Florida, it was common to see Aloe vera in and outside of people’s homes. My mother when I was growing up would always have Aloe growing at our home and would use it topically for sunburns, as it is commonly used. But Aloe is far more versatile. Not only can it be used topically for damaged skin, but also can be consumed internally. The medicinal value of Aloe is far under-estimated, and I hope this paper sheds light on the many benefits of this crop.
Aloe vera is a species of succulent plants. Aloe is the genus name and vera is the species name. Vera means genuine or true. The genus Aloe is believed to have originated in the Sudan, although I could not find a source other than Wikipedia to confirm this. It “grows in arid climates and is widely distributed in Africa, India, Nepal and other arid areas” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera). I personally have seen it all over Florida and the Caribbean. However, in North Florida the freeze may get to it, so many keep their Aloe in a pot and bring it inside during a freeze
There are many different types of Aloe, but I would like to focus on the variety commonly known as Elephant Ear. Elephant Ear is stemless and has large green leaves with a gel between them. The reason why I chose to write about the Elephant Ear variety is because, when I was first introduced to its benefits by Cephas , I was told that Elephant Ear was the type most fit for human ingestion.
Cephas, a Jamaican- born health guru, has been using Aloe vera for 40 years. I first met Cephas at his store in Ybor City, Florida after our band performed reggae at his place. That was the first time I consumed Aloe in his very specific way. But before I ever consumed it, he had to convince me that it was not only safe but also healthy. I was very surprised when he sourced the Mayo Clinic and other academic sources backing up his seemingly miraculous claims.
Author Mike Adams outlines a multitude of health benefits in his book The Aloe Vera Miracle: A natural medicine for cancer, cholesterol, diabetes, inflammation, IBS, and other health conditions:
“When I say aloe vera is the most impressive medicinal herb invented by nature, I don’t make that statement lightly. Of all the herbs I’ve ever studied—and I’ve written thousands of articles on nutrition and disease prevention—aloe vera is the most impressive herb of them all. (Garlic would be a close second.) There is nothing on this planet that offers the amazing variety of healing benefits granted by aloe vera. In a single plant, aloe vera offers potent, natural medicine that:
• Halts the growth of cancer tumors.
• Lowers high cholesterol.
• Repairs “sludge blood” and reverses “sticky blood”.
• Boosts the oxygenation of your blood.
• Eases inflammation and soothes arthritis pain.
• Protects the body from oxidative stress.
• Prevents kidney stones and protects the body from oxalates in coffee and tea.
• Alkalizes the body, helping to balance overly acidic dietary habits.
• Cures ulcers, IBS, Crohn’s disease and other digestive disorders.
• Reduces high blood pressure natural, by treating the cause, not just the symptoms.
• Nourishes the body with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and glyconutrients.
• Accelerates healing from physical burns and radiation burns.
• Replaces dozens of first aid products, makes bandages and antibacterial sprays obsolete.
The Aloe Vera Miracle
• Halts colon cancer, heals the intestines and lubricates the digestive tract.
• Ends constipation.
• Stabilizes blood sugar and reduces triglycerides in diabetics.
• Prevents and treats candida infections.
• Protects the kidneys from disease.
• Functions as nature’s own “sports drink” for electrolyte balance.
• Boosts cardiovascular performance and physical endurance.
• Speeds recovery from injury or physical exertion.
• Hydrates the skin, accelerates skin repair.
Truly, there is nothing else that compares to the medicinal potential of aloe vera. And yet most people only know about the topical applications of aloe vera gel. They think it’s only good for sunburns. In reality, aloe vera is useful for both external and internal use. “ (http://www.cephashotshop.com/AloeVeraMiracle.pdf)
The Mayo Clinic has published research on some of the above- mentioned health benefits: (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aloe-vera/NS_patient-aloe/DSECTION=evidence) This article piqued my interest and was truly exciting. Aloe vera juice is sold in many health food stores, but Cephas does not use the juice. He is very particular with his preparation and use of Aloe vera.
I have never seen or heard of anyone else using his method. It requires a blender, some purified water, a few ice cubes, and a fresh Leaf of Elephant Ear Aloe vera. Only the gel inside is used for the drink. Although the leaf is shown to be an affective latex laxative, “Dried latex from the inner lining of aloe leaves has been used traditionally as a laxative taken by mouth. Although few studies have been conducted to assess this effect of aloe in humans, the laxative properties of aloe components such as aloin are well supported by scientific evidence. A combination herbal remedy containing aloe was found to be an effective laxative” (Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aloe-vera/NS_patient-aloe/DSECTION=evidence).
Cephas only uses the gel though, the same part used for skin care. Perhaps the best way to understand the process Cephas uses to make his Aloe drink is by watching him. Here is a video of me actually showing step by step how to make and drink the Aloe in the same way Cephas taught me:
The Aloe gel is blended with a small amount of water and ice cubes, which makes a foamy beverage. Cephas describes the foam as being the equivalent of soap suds that scrub the inside of your body. It truly does scrub your intestines and helps with normal bowel movements. After drinking three cups of this foamy drink for the first time, I was impressed with the energy it gave me. I was scared that I might get diarrhea, but thankfully that did not happen. The foamy drink makes you burp a bit and has a similar consistency to beer foam, but it has no distinctive taste.
To this day, I still consume Aloe in the very way Cephas had shown me. You can find fresh Elephant Ear Aloe here locally at Wards and most Publix stores. They will usually have it in stock; if not, you can order it. I definitely recommend trying it.